Rock River Poetry Contest National Winner

Rock River Poetry Contest National Winner


This week, we present the national winner of the Rock River Poetry Contest 2002. The winner is Robert Mills of Chicago.

For This We Have Survived

(William Butler Yeats Revisited)

I have heard the sea-wind

howl and scream

upon the tower,

watched dark clouds dance

over pavements

where slaughtered mother, father, infant

lie battered in blood and ashes

The blood-dimmed tide

loosed upon the world

shrouds a vast image moving darkly

in timeless chaos

still slouching toward Bethlehem.

Yet from the howling storm

a voice to re-member the bodies,

restrain the great gloom,

exhume words

banished beyond betrayal.

Events dimmed in memory

re-emerge with sanctity

when only the feeling remains.

Every legend of prayer-borne despair

repeated in dreamlike mimicry

expiates the pain of wounds never healed.

We sigh a poem to honor these dead.

For this we have survived.

—Robert Mills

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